This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which pull-on work boots are best?

Pull-on work boots can protect your feet from grime and muck, dangerous hazards and the weather and keep you comfortable while you’re on the job. You need to consider the construction and materials of the boots as well as waterproofing and toe protection when selecting a pair of pull-on work boots. The Timberland Pro Women’s Titan Waterproof Boot is flexible, lightweight, comfortable and protective.

What to know before you buy pull-on work boots

Work situation

The pair of work boots you choose depends on your work situation, lifestyle and what you plan to do while wearing the boots. For instance, concrete workers need waterproof work boots with deep tread, while carpenters benefit from boots that protect them against puncture wounds and welders require boots that safeguard them from hot metal shrapnel. 

In many work situations, your supervisor will tell you exactly which boots to buy, while in other situations, you might get a set of guidelines, but you need to find the specific pair of work boots. Think about your needs, the kind of toe protection your job requires, whether you need boots with high-tech injection technology or cement adhesive and more.

Type of toe protection

Some work boots have steel plates on the inside the toe box, while others include toe caps composed of composite or aluminum materials.

  • Steel-toed boots shield your toes from dropped tools, hot construction materials and falling debris, but steel is heavy and the weight of the material can lead to leg and foot fatigue. Steel-toed boots also conduct electricity, which makes them dangerous to wear around machinery with a strong magnetic or electrical field.
  • Aluminum has more flexibility and a lighter weight than steel, so aluminum toe caps create less leg and foot fatigue for the wearer than steel toes. Aluminum still conducts some electricity but not as much as steel. That being said, aluminum might not be as strong or durable as steel. 
  • Polymers and ceramic materials, known as composite materials, can be mixed to imitate the strength of a steel-toed boot. Composite materials are not overly heavy, and they’re more comfortable to wear than steel while still protecting the toes from falling debris and other dangers.

How to maintain

Scrape debris and dirt from your boot tread as soon as you can, since ground-in dirt can lead to blistering and abrasions, and mud-filled treads don’t offer any traction. Inspect your boots daily for damage, and use a leather conditioning product such as mink oil to keep the uppers water-resistant and supple. Air out your boots on a shoe stand when not in use.

What to look for in quality pull-on work boots

Metatarsal guard

Some workers like having a metatarsal guard in addition to a toe box. The metatarsal guard fits over the tongue of your boot and extends to the toe box, which protects your upper foot from hot materials and sudden impact.

Boot construction

The quality of the construction between the body and sole of the boot affects its durability. Companies use three methods to attach leather uppers to rubber soles, including cement construction, molded construction and Goodyear welt construction.

  • Cement construction is an inexpensive and common construction method in which the rubber sole and leather upper are glued together, using an industrial-strength adhesive. These boots are less expensive, but the adhesives degrade over time.
  • Molded construction is a construction method in which the sole is joined to the upper through injection technology. The leather upper is held in a mold, and the heated rubber compound is injected or poured into the mold bottom. As the mold cools and dries, the rubber fuses to the upper, which creates a bond with no stitching or adhesive. This method offers superior weather resistance and decreases the chance of the boot splitting apart.
  • Goodyear welt construction involves a complex stitching process and an extra leather strip, known as the welt. This construction method provides water resistance and exceptional strength. These boots are more expensive but also last much longer.

Tread style

The tread style of your boot impacts your comfort and stability at work. If you work in oily or wet conditions, consider a slip-resistant tread that offers additional traction. If you work at a construction site with soft ground, buy shoes with a tread that improves your earth grip.

How much you can expect to spend on pull-on work boots

Pull-on work boots typically range in price from about $60-$200, depending on the quality and construction of the boots.

Pull-on work boots FAQ

Do traditional shoe sizes apply to pull-on work boots?

A. No, not always. Move up at least half of a shoe size for work boots of any style.

Will pull-on work boots that feel tight or pinch in the toe area break in over time?

A. Leather is flexible, but composite materials, aluminum and steel won’t necessarily flex over time. It’s best to get boots that fit properly the first time rather than assuming your boots will break in over time. It’s worth noting that a boot that’s too loose is just as bad for your feet as a boot that’s too tight.

What is OSHA, and why is it important that your boots are approved by OSHA?

A. OSHA stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This organization adheres to standards recommended by the American Society for Testing and Materials, also known as ASTM, for safety-toe work boots. In the past, OSHA endorsed standards by the American National Standards Institute, also known as ANSI.

What are the best pull-on work boots to buy?

Top pull-on work boots

Timberland Pro Women’s Titan Waterproof Boot

Timberland Pro Women’s Titan Waterproof Boot

What you need to know: These boots are protective, lightweight and suitable for working on soggy, wet ground.

What you’ll love: These boots include an ergonomic design for all-day wear, an antimicrobial lining to keep bacteria and smells at bay and a rugged design. They’re flexible, breathable and comfortable, and they meet ANSI safety standards.

What you should consider: The toe of the boot sustains scuffs easily, and the boots run slightly narrow.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top pull-on work boots for the money

CAT Footwear Men’s Threshold Waterproof Industrial Boot

CAT Footwear Men’s Threshold Waterproof Industrial Boot

What you need to know: These work boots are affordable while providing multiple supportive and protective features.

What you’ll love: These boots come with a slip-resistant outsole, a thick rubber sole, an all-leather construction and a waterproof membrane, which works well for working in wet conditions. The outsole of this classic work boot is well-received for the stabilizing traction details.

What you should consider: These boots sometimes see wear and tear sooner than you might expect.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Wolverine Men’s Overpass Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boot

Wolverine Men’s Overpass Composite Toe Waterproof Work Boot

What you need to know: These tough work boots will hold up even under difficult work conditions. 

What you’ll love: These shoes feature a removable OrthoLite-cushioned footbed for supreme comfort all day. They also come with waterproof leather to keep your feet dry in all weather conditions and a lightweight carbon max toe-cap for extra protection from abrasion. 

What you should consider: These work boots don’t breathe well, so they might develop a smell or feel too warm.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals. 

Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.